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Following Advani: Answers to your questions

March 11, 2004 22:01 IST
Last Updated: March 11, 2004 22:57 IST Assistant Managing Editor George Iype, who is travelling with Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani's Bharat Uday Yatra, answers readers' queries:

Ashok Baskaran from Chennai
Advani's popularity does not seem to be increasing compared to Vajpayee. Why so?
George: Maybe because people still see Advani as 'a hardcore' Hindutva man; Ayodhya man. Also Advani is not a charismatic political speaker, public speaker like Vajpayee.

Ahmed in Chennai
Why isn't any other senior BJP leader accompanying Advani on the yatra?
George: Because if all the senior BJP leaders get into a 33-day long yatra, it will be a waste of time for all of them during elections. So different leaders are branching out to different parts for the election campaign.

Venugopal in Coimbatore
Is the yatra passing through sensitive minority area, as being propagated by the Communists?
George: Dear Venugopal, it is passing through different constituencies, in which sensitive minority areas like Coimbatore are there. Advani is also going to Ayodhya during the yatra.

Rajesh in Nashik
Is BJP going the Congress way for Muslim vote bank & differing from mandir issue?
George: Hi, Rajesh, it is wooing the Muslim vote bank this time much more the way it did in the last elections. That is why the party is enrolling many Muslims as BJP members. But on the mandir issue, the BJP has not changed its stand.

Achyut in Pune
Why is he not coming to Maharashtra? Only a small section of the state is covered? Is he afraid to take on Pawar in his strong base of western Maharashtra?
George: He is coming to Maharasthra. Yes, only a small section is covered. The BJP leadership has not explained why Advani is not spending more time in Maharashtra. Also, if you see the route the yatra is taking, it's very clear Advani is steering clear of safe and no-hope seats. He is covering only those areas where he can make a difference.

Sanjay from Atlanta
What's the main reason BJP is unable to break the CPI/M barrier in Kerala/WB, the most cursed states in terms of progress. Is it the people or the leaders of CPI/M?
George: Dear Sanjay, the BJP has been unable to win any assembly or Lok Sabha seats so far in the two states because of the peculiar religious and political set up. The state is politically dominated by Marxists and Congress; and Muslims and Christians have their own political parties -- the Muslim League and the Kerala Congress. So the BJP has been unable to break these political barriers in Kerala.

Sankar in Dallas
How many people turned up in Trivandrum for the meeting?
George: Some 6,000 people gathered in the Trivandrum meeting.

Tahil Ramani from Mumbai
How much contact do ordinary people have when the bus stops at a point? Can a poor old woman or a helpless beggar approach LKA or are they pushed off by the security-Sangh Parivar panjandrum?
George: Ordinary people are not allowed anywhere near the rath and forget about beggars or poor, old women. All because of tight security reasons. There is a huge security blanket on the roads. People are able to see the yatra going and Advani talking. That is all.

Vasu from the US
I was shocked to read in rediff that rituals for the bus included sacrificing a goat. Isn't it hypocrisy that BJP opposes cow slaughter and sacrifices goat for their bus?
George: Yes, that is a moot question. But sacrificing goats is a Hindu ritual which the BJP leaders have done for the safety of the Advani bus. Interesting, Advani himself is strictly vegetarian.

Prakash from Coimbatore
Do u think the new trend of roping in film stars to gain votes is a healthy trend?
George: It cannot be termed a healthy trend. I do not believe film stars are joining the parties out of their political convictions. It is all for the cause of publicity for the parties and for the film stars.

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